Tools and tips for effective market research

Get help getting to know your audience

When you’re getting your business off the ground, you need to have a firm sense of the market you’re servicing. Without this knowledge, you might waste a lot of time and money producing a product or service that no one wants to buy, or that misses being seen by those who do want it.

Who will need or want your product? What is the problem it is servicing? How big is the market for it? What are demographics, buying behaviours, spending habits, disposable incomes, aesthetic preferences, likes and dislikes of the people you are targeting? Who are your competitors? Or you might know who wants your product or service but want to gather as much data as possible on them to capture their business.

This information will inform your business strategy: all the big things like your product design, your service model, price point, choice of stockists, and of course marketing and advertising strategies, further down the line.

Market research generally results in two kinds of data:

  • Quantitative: research that tells you numbers – how many young families live in the suburb where you want to open your play centre? How much money are people at your local farmers’ market prepared to pay for cheese?
  • Qualitative: research that tells you about experiences – how do parents in your suburb feel about the facilities available for their kids to play at? How would people describe the taste of your brie sampler?

Both kinds of data can be gathered from a range of sources:

  • Primary: research that comes directly from the source – surveys, focus groups, questionnaires.
  • Secondary: research that comes from a second party – articles, white papers, industry infographics.

So, what can you use to carry out this research? Get started with these free tool options:

  • SurveyMonkey: Easy to use and intuitive, this online survey tool offers a free account that allows you to ask a limited amount of questions. It also offers a range of free sample survey templates, from event planning to marketing and customer satisfaction.
  • Google Trends: an incredible source of data around Google searches, broken down into regions and also offering associated terms. So, for example if you look up ‘masks’ under ‘Australia’, you can see the breakdown of search tallies down to city-level over specific periods of time, and find out related topics and queries – in this case, ‘silk’, ‘glasses’, and ‘mandatory’.
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics: a government resource offering a wide range of social and economic statistic for Australia.
  • a one-stop-shop for publicly available Australian data.
  • QuestionPro offers a range of free survey templates, from customer satisfaction to product review, on sign-up.